And if you dont watch out, it can leave a mighty big hole in your pocket.
The golden rule is never buy an antique until you know for sure that its authentic.
Older pieces may have oil, wax, or milk paint finishes.
Fine old pieces are often French-polished, a variation of the shellac finish.
Though there are a few unscrupulous antique dealers who will try to pull one off on you, the majority are honest and just want to sell their items as soon as possible.
The longer a piece of furniture remains in their inventory, the less profit they make on it.
These situations are common occurrences for antique collectors, restorers and store owners.
Although many pieces of antique furniture have survived through the centuries, unfortunately a great number of them are missing some or all of their original hardware.
Sometimes a collector may come across a lovely piece that appears to have all of its drawer pulls, hinges, keyhole escutcheons or other hardware intact.
The former is hand cut while the latter is machine cut. Before the mid-1840s, shellac was the only clear surface finish.
Lacquer and varnish didnt come along the mid 19th century.